capsule review

Blogger

At a Glance
  • Google Blogger

    PCWorld Rating

Google recently revamped Blogger, transforming the lagging product into a full-featured blog platform. With its quick initial setup and point-and-click template switching, Blogger most resembles WordPress, but it sets itself apart with its savvier handling of third-party plug-ins and online videos.

Blogger one-ups WordPress with the ability to modify templates, allowing you to drag and drop 12 different page modules onto them. You can also drop in external RSS feeds such as Yahoo news feeds, AdSense ads, blogrolls, and third-party HTML and JavaScript applications (such as Meebo's IM window). You can even customize your CSS by hand, which unfortunately is necessary if you want to add an image to your blog header.

In addition, you can post photos from your camera phone, blog using the mobile client, or send posts to a special e-mail address. The software sports a comprehensive set of controls and features for posts, comments, and feeds, and presents them in a simple interface that clearly explains what each does.

While Blogger will let you host your blog at your own Web site (including subdirectories and subdomains) by FTPing posts to your site, many of the new customizable layouts and modules will not work with external domains. Google says this arrangement may change soon, which would make Blogger a fantastic choice for small businesses wanting to add a new blog to an old site without spending much time customizing it.

On the other hand, WordPress's logging and statistics features put Blogger, which offers neither, to shame. It's especially embarrassing since Google Analytics is one of the best free offerings on the market. Fortunately, Blogger lets you paste Google Analytics code into its CSS, but the fact that it isn't baked in is a big oversight.

Nevertheless, Blogger is a great option for anyone who wants to trick out a blog with third-party ads and applications, or who wants to blog for dollars through Google's AdSense program. If it ever lets you use its design customization on third-party servers, it will be a fantastic way to run a blog on your own site without having to maintain and update blog software.

Ryan Singel

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Includes plenty of unique tools

    Cons

    • Lacks logging and statistics features
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